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handle the fiscal cliff? 48% believe president obama and republicans will reach an agreement but 43% say they won't. meantime, president obama is giving a stern warning to republicans who may be trying to use the debt ceiling as leverage. >> if congress in any way suggests that they're going to tie negotiations to debt ceiling votes and take us to the brink of default once again as part of a budget negotiation, which by the way we have never done in our history until we did it last year, i will not play that game. >> we should say that the president and house speaker john boehner did speak by phone yesterday. that was the first time in a week. no one is saying what the conversation was about. shortly after that call treasury secretary tim geithner went on cnbc and said the white house is ready to go off the cliff. >> if republicans do not agree to that, is the administration prepared to go over the fiscal cliff in. >> absolutely. there's no prospect to an agreement that doesn't involve those rates going up on the top 2% of the wealthiest. it's only 2%. >> i want to bring in "usa tod
to that, is the administration prepared to go over the fiscal cliff in. >> absolutely. there's no prospect to an agreement that doesn't involve those rates going up on the top 2% of the wealthiest. it's only 2%. >> i want to bring in "usa today" bureau chief and welcome to both of you. where are we in these negotiations, susan? >> i think the most encouraging thing was they agreed to the to characterize the phone call. the last time around the characterization of the phone call became a controversy in itself. i think it's pretty clear that the white house and republicans think the white house hand on this is strengthening. we see the polls that you mention, pew polls this week say americans trust the president more, assume if a deal is not reached -- trust the white house more, think if a deal isn't reached it, will be the fault of republicans and it is in fact easier for democrats to go over the fiscal cliff than it is for republicans because then all those tax cuts from the republicans are swept away. but it's too early. it's only december 6. we've got until december 31st and in
, fiscal cliff later. both sides have said this has to be a two-step process, there has to be some kind of commitment in downpayment on taxes and entitlement cuts and sets up a framework for broader and comprehensive tax and entitlement reform next year because it is such a big, huge change to how we tax and how we would provide medicare and medicaid and social security, you can't do it all in four books. this new idea that republicans get more leverage if they give the president taxes now and hold out on, and hold the line on the debt ceiling like they did last summer successfully is something that is new and i think a different kind of two-part plan that republicans are starting to consider as maybe a backup plan that gives them the ability to say we lost the 2% tax hikes now, but we're going to fight later on the debt ceiling. >> let me bring in congressman james lang foford, fifth rankin republican in the house, congratulations, good morning. >> thank you, good morning. >> let me ask you about the possibility of some sort of two-step solution and do you think if you wait it would gi
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